Back to School

Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley.

Well folks it’s that time of year again- I hope you all had a fabulous summer and remember we do still have 1 more month let of summer season before,  its BACK TO SCHOOL! Continue reading “Back to School”

Trade Up for a Better After School Snack

Trade Up for a Better Back to School Snack! #NuVal www.cobornsblog.comHey All! As I’m sure you are fully aware it is back to school, whether you are ready or not! Last month I blogged about nutritious breakfast options to fuel you and your child’s body before beginning your long day! All meals are important, but breakfast seems to be one of the most challenging as it tends to be very rushed.  Parent’s aren’t usually responsible for lunches as it is offered at the schools and the school lunches are now more nutritious than ever and continue to head in that direction!  So, today I will be blogging about better for you snacks for kids after school.  It may be before a sport or as they arrive off the bus.  After school snacks can be very tricky as a lot of the front of package labeling can be very misleading.

I remember as I was getting off the bus from school, I was starving! I couldn’t wait to have an after school snack.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t provided with the most nutritious options.  Back then, there wasn’t such a push for nutritious options and we were just on the verge of the childhood obesity epidemic. I would have snacks like mini corn dogs, pizza rolls, pizza, ice cream, cookies, cheese balls, Little Debbie’s nutty bars (they had peanut butter, so they had to be good for you), and easy mac! YIKES! I am honestly embarrassed to share that being a dietitian today!!!  I guess that just makes my improvements more significant.

Check out the image for all of my suggest snack trade ups! I hope these provide you with some ideas for healthy snack options for you and your families.

Happy Back to School!

Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley.

Peace and Wellness,
Coborn’s, Inc. Registered Supermarket Dietitian

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Packing a Food Safe Lunch for School

Tips for packing a food safe lunch for back to school. - Coborn's Food Safety Coordinator, Kim

Well, it’s hard to say it’s time to start thinking about “Back to School”.  AND when you ask most children what their favorite thing about school is . . . what do they say??  Recess and LUNCH, right?!

I’m here to share with you some tips on packing a safe lunch.  If you keep in mind The Food Safety “Recipe for Success” you will always be successful in preparing a safe lunch.   So let’s get started!

Clean your lunch box

But, wait  . . . first, we need to find that lunch box! For some kids, it may still be squished in their backpack from the last day of school!  When you find it or if starting with a brand new one – wash it up good with hot soapy water.  Also, make sure you have an insulated lunch box as they are much better at keeping items cold.

Clean all surfaces before meal preparation

As with all meal preparation, start with clean surfaces and clean hands. This is truly a critical step, even more so now because these meals will not be eaten immediately after preparation.  The Temperature Danger Zone, which is 41°F to 140°F, is the temperature range where bacteria like to grow.  Granted, we have our insulated lunch box; however, keeping in mind the time kids leave for school until lunchtime, could be 5-6 hours.  That’s a long time until lunch!  Even an insulated lunch box with freezer packs may not keep the food below 41°F for that entire time, so it is always best to start with clean hands and surfaces to minimize any bacteria that might get onto the food during preparation.

Wash ALL fruits and vegetables

Another “CLEAN” tip that cannot be overlooked is ensuring all fruits and veggies are thoroughly rinsed under running tap water prior to packing for lunch.  This also includes those with rinds and peels that are not eaten.    Bacteria on the surface can contaminate the edible portion when peeling or cutting.

Preparing the night before

I know for me the morning can be quite hectic, so preparing lunch(es) the night before makes for a somewhat less stressful morning.  If preparing the night before, keep lunch items in the refrigerator overnight and pack the next morning.  You can keep the entire lunch box in the refrigerator, but wait to add the frozen gel packs until right before the kids leave for school.  This will help keep the lunch as cold as possible during the long wait until lunch!  I always use a couple of frozen gel packs for good measure.  Frozen juice boxes also work great!  I also like the insulated lunch boxes that have a divider in them.  This allows me to place all of the items together that need to be kept cold with the frozen gel packs and separate from items like crackers, eating utensils or napkins.  No need for the frozen gel packs to keep those items cold!  Remember, the frozen gel packs (and frozen juice boxes) are not meant for all day storage.  Keeping food cold until lunch is the best they can do.

Perishable items must be tossed if not eaten

That being said, all perishable items (items meant to keep cold) that are not eaten at lunch should be thrown away.  Encourage kids to eat those items first.  Items like leftover crackers or a sealed (manufacturer sealed) shelf stable fruit cups can be kept for the next lunch.  Fruit cups purchased cold or prepared at home should be discarded if not eaten at lunch time.

Keep it cold

It is also good to remind your kids to keep their lunch boxes away from any heat sources once they arrive at school.  Do not store by heaters or in direct sunlight.

Using insulated containers

One final tip . . . when using insulated containers for food storage, either cold or hot food, it is best to acclimate the container to the temperature of the food it will be storing.  Depending on the food item, fill the container with either very cold or boiling water and let it sit for a few minutes.  Discard the water then fill with the food item.  This will help in maintaining the temperature of the food item.  Also, sorry, to point out the obvious, but if packing hot food, this will need to take place in the morning.  The insulated container will not keep the food hot overnight.

Enjoy what’s left of the summer!

Coborn’s, Inc RD and Food Safety Coordinator

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DIY Kids' Caddy for School Supplies

DIY Kids' Caddy for School Supplies - - Crafty Creations with Lynell

Can you believe it’s that time of year again? Back to school!

My grandkids are headed back to school and I was thinking about what I could make to help them prepare. They love to come in my art room and play with all my stuff, so I had made totes for them a while ago. Well, they have become too heavy and now they aren’t that cool. The kids always seem to need crayons, markers, glue etc., so I thought  it would be nice to make a caddy that they can put all of their supplies in to carry to the table, breakfast nook, or wherever we want. So with a little imagination and some help from my hubby, this is what I came up with.

5.0 from 1 reviews
DIY Kids' Caddy for School Supplies
  • 6 Tin Cans (I used vegetable cans)
  • 1 Block of Wood (9.5” x 6” x 1”)
  • Spray Paint (I used white & blue)
  • 6 - 1 ½” Screws
  • Handle with 2 Screws (I painted this red)
  • 6 Different Rolls of Duct Tape, 2” wide (2 with patterns, 4 solids)
  • ½”-1” Styrofoam
  1. Remove the can labels and wash the cans with soap and water, using a bottle brush or dishwasher to get all the food particles out of cans. Paint will only stick on clean, dry cans. If the cans have any sharp edges, very carefully push down any sharp spots with a screw driver.
  2. Spray paint the tin cans, inside and out.
  3. Measure out the wood, then cut it and sand the edges.
  4. Spray paint the wood blue and allow them to dry overnight.
  5. After they are dry, spray paint everything with a second coat, again allowing them to dry overnight.
  6. The next day, turn them upside down and spray paint the bottom, allowing them dry overnight.
  7. Repeat the next day to add a second coat to the bottom, allowing them to dry overnight.
  8. Select 2 patterned and 4 solid-colored duct tapes, one for each can.
  9. On each tin can, find the rough seam that goes down the side where the label would be glued. At that seam, affix a piece of tape and go all the way around the base of the can. With a second strip of the same pattern tape, make a second stripe to cover the top half of the can.
  10. Place 2 solid cans on one side of the wood with a patterned can in the middle.
  11. Repeat step 10 on the opposite side.
  12. Drill 1 hole in each can near the seam about a half-inch from the base. Then screw the can into the base of the board at an angle. (They may wobble, but this is okay)
  13. Add the handle on the top of the wood by screwing the 2 screws into the wood.
  14. After you attach the cans onto the wood, a little paint may chip off, so very carefully spray the screws.You can hold up a piece of paper near it as a shield so paint does not get onto anything else.
  15. You can put a little Styrofoam into the base of a few cans so crayons will stick up a little bit and not fall in.
To save a little money you could purchase only two rolls of duct tape and alternate around your caddy.

I hope the kids in your life have a great school year and have fun with their new Kids’ Caddy!

– Lynell
Coborn’s, Inc. Graphic Designer

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Cute and Crazy Valentine Printables - 24 Free Valentine Printables - Crafty Creations with Lynell
Coborn’s Graphic Designer

Valentine’s Day is such a fun day to have a little goofiness.

Use a little humor with the people you love or the people you just want to give a funny Valentine to (i.e. grandkids, co-workers, delivery person).

I went grocery shopping at Coborn’s and looked at all the cool items that they carry. Then I put on my thinking cap and thought which ones can I turn into an off-the-wall Valentine. There are so many ideas, I could have kept creating more and more.

Have a little fun, step out of the box, and give that special someone something crazy! You could even give a Valentine every day until February 14th. . . now how fun would that be? Feel free to print out the Valentines I created. Simply click on the links below and print, make a hole at the top of the card, add a little string, yarn or ribbon and tie it to your favorite Valentine gift idea. Get creative: use glitter, buttons, stickers. Have FUN and Happy Valentine’s Day! - Free Valentine Printables - CandyCandy Valentines

Send your Valentine a sweet treat! Here are six Valentine cards that you can attach to candy!

1. Box of Nerds – “Don’t be a NERD! Be Mine!

2. Almond Joy Candy Bar – “You bring me so much Joy, Valentine!”

3. Box of Whoppers – “You’re a Whopper of a Valentine!”

4. Box of Hot Tamales – You are one HOT Valentine!”

5. Snicker candy bar – “I love how you make me laugh and snicker, Valentine!”

6. Bag of Reese’s Pieces – “I love you to pieces, Valentine!” - Free Valentine Printables - SnacksSnack Valentines

I love the snack Valentines. The nice thing about these is that you can make them big or small. For example, you can give your Valentine an entire box of popcorn or you can remove the bags and give out one to each Valentine. You could also divide the snacks into individual bags and attach the card; that way you will get more Valentines out of one box of crackers.

1. Jar of peanuts – “I’m nuts about you, Valentine!”

2. Box of Cheez-it crackers – “Cheez! I’m crackers over you, Valentine!”

3. Box or bag of Teddy Grahams – “I love your Bear Hugs, Valentine!”

4. Bag of Goldfish crackers – “It’s O-fish-al, you’re the best Valentine!”

5. Box of trail mix – “We’re a good mix, Valentine!”

6. Box of popcorn – “You make my heart pop, Valentine!” - Free Valentine Printables - Sweets

Sweet Valentines

Here are a few random sweets that would make great Valentines – mints, chewing gum and donuts!

1. Bag or roll of mints – “I mint to tell you… I love you, Valentine!”

2. Pack of Extra chewing gum – “You are extra special, Valentine!”

3. Package of donuts – “Donut break my heart. Be mine!” - Free Valentine Printables - FruitFruit Valentines

Candy is the go-to for Valentines it seems, but we can easily make them a little healthier by attaching our Valentine cards to fruits.

1. Cutie Clementines – “You’re such a cutie, Valentine!”

2. Apple – “You are the apple of my eye, Valentine!”

3. Apple with Gummy Worms – “You wormed your way into my heart, Valentine!” - Free Valentine Printables - Soda PopSoda Pop Valentines

Here are three sweet soda pop Valentines that I think would be great for co-workers, since we all need our caffeine! And the crush one… you may or may not want to give that one to a co-worker, but it would be super-sweet for your kids to give to their crush. Orange soda is more kid friendly, too!

1. Bottle of Mt. Dew – “I love all that you DEW, Valentine!”

2. Bottle of your Valentine’s favorite soda pop – “I think you’re Sodamazing, Valentine!”

3. Bottle of Crush – “I’ve got a crush on you, Valentine!” - Free Valentine Printables - PracticalPractical Valentines

You wouldn’t typically give a roll of paper towels or a light bulb as a Valentine but if you were doing the 14 days of Valentines, these would make good fillers. Although, even if you are not doing the 14 days of Valentines, these are still pretty funny. Maybe you could give the light bulb to your more practical friends and neighbors and a box of facial tissue would be a great Valentine for your kid to give to his or her teacher.

1. Roll of paper towels – “You’re a great roll model, Valentine!”

2. Light bulb or flash light – “Watt a Valentine you are!”

3. Box of facial tissue – “I nose you are the best Valentine!”

May there be love, happiness and a little creativity in your life.


Coborn’s Graphic Designer

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